Blanchester residents achieve signatures for ballot referendum


BLANCHESTER — Local residents have achieved the required signatures to have a referendum placed on the November ballot regarding the earnings tax recently passed by Blanchester council.

Betsy Wellman, organizer of the referendum, told the News Journal she filed it with Blanchester fiscal officer Tammy May on Monday.

According to Wellman, they filed 358 signatures, surpassing the 260 needed.

The petitions will be available for public inspection from 9 a. m. to 4 p.m. for 10 consecutive business days, according to Clinton County Board of Elections Director Shane Breckel.

“We have been notified by the village they intend to transmit a certified copy of the ordinance and the petition to our office on Wednesday, July 20,” Breckel told the News Journal.

The Board of Elections will the examine the signatures and return the petition to the village with a statement attesting to the number of voters who signed the petition, according to Breckel.

If the number of valid signatures is sufficient and the petition is otherwise valid, the village must certify the sufficiency and validity of the petition back to the board of elections for placement on the ballot.

“We originally thought we had to have the petitions filed prior to the deadline of Saturday, July 9,” said Wellman. “Shane Breckel at the Clinton County Board of Elections, informed me that I actually had until (Monday), since the deadline fell on a non-business day.”

The Blanchester Council approved the 1% income tax in June. The money from this would go toward the Blanchester Police Department.

Mayor John Carman told the News Journal the only residents who would have to pay the tax would be those working in the village or those working outside the village and not already paying an earnings tax.

Much as with previous attempts with voters to pass such a tax, the ordinance would not affect senior citizens, those on Social Security, people paying an income tax elsewhere, or those on unemployment benefits. Those citizens would be exempt.

If the referendum is unsuccessful, the tax will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Wellman told the News Journal she wanted to file the referendum wasn’t because of the amount or what it was going towards, it was because the council approved it without citizens’ approval.

“The citizens of Blanchester really stepped up and are demanding that the six-member city -council hear them loud and clear,” she said.

By John Hamilton

[email protected]

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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